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November 30th, 2009 by Dr. Phil

Violent Teen Girls

Alyssa Bustamante (AP Photo)

Alyssa Bustamante (AP Photo)

Girl-on-girl bullying is spiraling out of control. I’ve blogged about this before, and I just can’t believe how more and more young ladies are becoming aggressors and victims. But what happens when this aggression escalates to murder?

By now I’m sure you’ve heard the tragic story of 15-year-old Alyssa Bustamante who allegedly strangled and slit the throat of her 9-year-old neighbor, Elizabeth Olten. According to reports, the teen dug a grave before the murder, and she tweeted: “all I want in life is a reason for all this pain.”

I can’t even wrap my mind around such a vicious killing — and of a child, no less — and my heart goes out to both families. What in the world is going on with some of our young people that they feel the urge to take their anger out by harming or killing others? What would influence a teen girl to allegedly act in such a brutal way? Were there psychological issues that were overlooked by parents, teachers or other professionals?

What are your thoughts on this senseless act? Let me hear from you.

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60 Responses to “Violent Teen Girls”

  1. FosterBoys says:

    Were there psychological issues that were overlooked? You’d better believe it. I’d stake my reputation on that one.

  2. Anita says:

    It’s impossible for me to imagine what is going on in Bustamante’s brain that promoted her to viciously kill her 9 year old neighbor. I always try to put myself in the individual’s place to try and understand things to a greater extent. I cannot even imagine putting myself in this girl’s place to try and understand her actions. I have never in my life wondered what it would be like to kill someone. Here in our area, I would guess, over 10 years ago, a man was on his way to work in the early morning hours, and 2 teens, high on drugs, shot him in the face as he and they were driving. He survived. They said they did it to see what it would be like to shoot someone. I don’t get it. I’m not sure that even if it was discovered that something horrible going on in her life, that I would be able to say “Oh, now I understand why she did what she did”.

  3. Linda says:

    I don´t know what to say. I agree with Fosterboys that there must be some psychological issues that were overlooked ( or drugs maybe) because I can´t see what would make her do such a thing. When I was 15 (20 years ago) girls bullying girls were mostly spreading rumors and talking behind each others backs. They could be very nasty sometimes but never violent.

  4. Katie says:

    There had to be psychological issues that were overlooked. I don’t think teen psychological issues are dealt with well at all, either because they’re ignored or people don’t know what to do about them.

  5. This is interesting. Let me point blame: I know girls are “violent” (what girls are not supposed to be violent? Any course in modern America sociology will illustrate this)… this is not Victorian times anymore. Society is violent. So girls should be what, chaste and non-violent? So we can sit on sidelines and watch “football” (what a non-violent sport) or wrestling, and be LEFT OUT! If you haven’t noticed: NO WOMEN THERE! (oh except supermodel anime types I suppose).

    I have a 13 year old daughter, and I was a kid who fought. My daughter hasn’t “fought” anyone yet, her school is pretty tight on that — but her behavior and attitude can be mad and angry. Why? Well lets see… she has a father who has now beat about 3 women and has 3 restraining orders against him and is on probation for domestic violence against the last one. Should we be on Maury or Jerry Springer? Well I have a Masters degree and he makes about $100,000 a year, so I doubt we are that “class” of guest.

    I blame the Superior Court judge for this. My ex has mandatory father visitation. What do I see? Tons of people in this society advocating “mutual” or “joint custody” rights across the board so deadbeat abusive fathers get rights as much as everyone else. And guess what, the fighting, arguing and abuse between parties with a 70% divorce rate and ENFORCED joint custody or visitation is a major cause of extreme violence in families. When I was staying at a woman’s shelter because of this guy — he showed up with police to drag our 3 year old out of the shelter to enforce his COURT ORDERED visitation.

    She has been put in the middle of this guy and his incessant demand for “rights” for 10 years — maybe that is the CAUSE. I’m sick of the finger being pointed at parents. Jerks are a dime a dozen and if the justice system or so called family services (whatever they are) do nothing but sit around supporting some academic or psychologist in an Ivory Tower with their theories that everyone should have mutual rights and that’s best for kids…. on street level they have no idea what degradation to the quality of life that causes.

    And BTW that mother who wanted to “sue” for custody of her daughter’s child is perpetrating the problem in their family and I could tell right on the show that she was an insidious person who likely says extremely nasty things to her child behind the back of the show and Dr. Phil, yet she is “helping” and seen as a “helper” and the kid should respect her mother who wants to sue for custody of her kid???!!!!

    Let my mother try to sue me for custody of my daughter — as far as I’m concerned, once you file a court case against me, you are effectively my enemy and on my “dead to me” list — blood or not.


    Kelli Holloran, MA

  6. MBM says:

    This is beyond tragic. I have to believe that something was happening in the home of Bustamente that so warped her mind and her behavior. Perhaps she has a chemical imbalance in her brain, but I’d be willing to bet that, whether or not this is the case, she has been repeatedly exposed to violence in her home – either as a witness or as a direct victim. Somehow, the systems that are set up to protect children from violence failed her, and now she has become a perpetrator.

    Also, where were the adults who should have been observing the warning signs? I can’t believe that this is the first act of violence that Bustamente committed. Why didn’t they notice the outward signs of a troubled girl? And why would she possibly be left alone with a nine-year-old child, given what I have to believe they observed in her behavior? It seems that many people failed the victim and the perpetrator here.

  7. First my condolences to Elizabeth Olten with utter sadness of a 15 year old girl even thinking to do something so horrendous. The shocking heartache a 15 year old girl actually did.

    When I was attacked in the park Halloween night 1980 by a drunk threatening “to cut my throat as a living sacrifice”… who passed out pinning me down. I was praying bout who I wanted to vote for etc. after a prayer service and had almost left 10 minutes earlier & wish I had. Seemed safe since just lived 2 blocks away. Just the thought of was paralyzing with fear as I laid pinned to ground reciting 23rd Psalm to stay calm and not fall asleep from dusk to dawn. I guess due to endorphins or fear it was more feeling faint than sleepy. So glad he let me go. I wish 15 year old had changed her mind and not done something so horrible to Elizabeth.

    I did see that 15 year old was being treated for depression after a suicide attempt when 13.

    I’d suggest experts ask 15 year old and listen…

    I think with graphic video games, television, movies, music and internet these days desensitizes many young people who binge on. And what little is left to the imagination is not left to… online.

    More and more women are depicted as aggressors in movies etc. Life is mostly habit of what we practice or time investment diet. As with teens investing time on listening to Marilyn Manson music everyone sort of morphs into, in varying degrees, what interested in or preoccupied with.

    People who never had impulse control issues can learn to in this technological age of click before you think with a trickle down frustrated effect in other areas. I’ve had my life threatened online twice by persons abused as children. So, perhaps, often abuse by someone in close proximity of can be a determinant of the cycle continuing through abused person(s)… There’s always exceptions to the rule though either way or, in other words, some do break out of the cycle or are resilient enough not to fall prey to preying on others.


    by: Dorothy Law Nolte

    Sums up pretty well… to which I’ll add so do adults if dine with unhealthy stimuli whether force fed or by choice. Is anybody listening now?

    Likely a combination of things contributed and why we need Emotional and Life Skill Education K-12 DAILY CLASSES designed by Dr. Phil & Jay & Robin & their colleagues with role playing etc. since our EQ’s are as important as our IQ’s. Plus, parents cannot teach what they have not learned. The TV programming, movie, video game, music and internet et al individual environmental stimuli chosen (or subjected to if abused etc.) DO have impact.

    Jay’s Anti-Bully program is a good start for schools.


    Bullies were all six once so don’t think someone’s age precludes them from being violent whether six or a senior. A six year old neighbor pulled his dad’s large hunting knife on me when I was five demanding I strip to see if I looked like his dad’s centerfold threatening to kill our pet hamster I was holding if I didn’t. A police report when I was stalked once said that I was too diplomatic. What I’ve learned is everyone doesn’t hope the best for me like I hope for others. By the same token some who have been exploited who choose to exploit too say do since feel others deep down are the same way. Then, Ted Bundy like the book “Gift of Fear” said looked for the polite “too diplomatic” souls to target as many predators do. We need your safety tips show again. Healing prayers to Elizabeth Olten’s family.

  8. Rose says:

    Couldn’t she be a socieopath? Not sure I spelled that right. How do you test for that? It’s the same feeling I have about that little 10 year old boy that was featured on a recent show who was killing animals, pushing his mother down the stairs, threatening to kill her. I guess I think some people are born bad. I think this because other people have had similar misfortunes in their lives & they turn out ok. So what is that line the separates them?

  9. Shelly says:

    I live about 5 miles from where this tragedy occurred. I do not know either family, but I have really been affected by this. My heart goes out to both families. I cannot comprehend what it would be like to lose a child in this way. I also cannot comprehend what it would be like to have to deal with the aftermath of what my family member had done.

    I want to make something clear, according to the news reports around here, she has been receiving psychological help since 2007 when she made a suicide attempt. So the signs that there was a problem were not ignored. We never know what goes on inside a family, if we are not a part of it. I think it is unfair to lay the blame on her family for not doing anything to help her. They obviously tried to get her help. Are there cases where someone cannot be helped? I don’t know.

    I have spent so much time trying to wrap my mind around this. My husband tells me that if this had been a boy who did this, I wouldn’t have such a problem with it. I think he may be right. I see videos of her on youtube, and she looks like any other girl you would see at school or walking down the street. I find myself looking at her pictures and trying to see if you can see anything in her eyes. I can’t see anything. There are some disturbing pictures, but they don’t necessarily mean something is wrong.

    I teach middle school, and it is sometimes hard to give answers to my students when I don’t understand myself. Her attorney is trying to get her transferred to a mental hospital. I hope that he succeeds. At this point, she needs that more than jail. My understanding is that she is on round-the-clock suicide watch.

    I teach in a parochial school. In my religion classes we talk about how sin never just affects 1 person. I now really understand that. I do not know the people involved with this, but in talking with others, they have also been affected by this crime. There is definitely a ripple affect.

  10. Michelle says:

    I worked with teenage girls who have been through SO much in life, and were now in placement. A placement that really wasnt helping these kids, but there was a need, and they were there. Unbelievable for those girls and their stories on what they have gone through in their lives already.

    I have two boys and can not imagine, them or anyone having a child do that to another chlid. How do you get to that point? These poor children now a days have so MUCH more to deal with, and I hope that you and your wife keep doing what you do. Especially for the good of all children.

  11. Lissa says:

    This is mind blowing and tragic. I honestly believe that if we still embraced the values of 3-5 decades ago, the violence and stupidity in our society would lessen by large amounts.

    I send love to the families.

  12. Naira says:

    I can’t even begin to imagine how she got to that state of anger, I am 19 and I had a pretty incredibly abusive childhood including parents, schools and boyfriends, both physical, sexual and mental (more mental) abuse and I’ve never been so angry to the point of wanting to kill someone. I haven’t even been suicidal, I’ve just always stayed positive. I always knew that some day I would be old enough to get a job and move out of home, and I knew that not EVERYONE in the world is a mean abusive person. And I emailed kids help line and all those sorts of depression phone/email lines you can contact if you need help. I’m an only child as well, so I turned to animals and video games for support. You’ve just got to stay as positive as you can and get through those times until you’re old enough to get out there and change your life and seek psychological help like I did this year. Having said that, there must have been something very disturbing in the back of her mind that’s built up over a long period of time. There’s got to be more to it. I’d definately say her psychoological issues were overlooked. A bright smiling happy teenager isn’t going to suddenly kill someone. She’d be a very depressed young girl who’s always looking tired and moody and doesn’t socialize with other people and is probably incredibly jealous kind of person. Parents need to pay more attention to their children. I begged and pleaded my mother at the age of 15 to take me to a psychologist. I was very underweight, not eating, not sleeping and bawling my eyes out at her and she just yelled at me claiming i’m perfectly healthy. She and my stepdad are a lot better now, but my childhood was hell and now I have pretty bad depression and trauma issues which lead to sleeping and eating issues. But I’m seeing a lovely psychologist and getting help. More people need to do so.

    - Jessie from Australia.

  13. Rebecca says:

    I do not know the facts but, speaking as a former “troubled teen” I was going down a very dark path, very early. I believe hormones, home life and peer pressure all send certain “triggers”. This case, from what I have read seems like a severe imbalance, mixed with the others that I mentioned.
    I know what it feels like in that millisecond of an instant to hold a life in your hands, but I had something within me that made me stop. I still think about that poor girl, how frightened she was…and that I guess is my penance for the past 23 years.
    But this young girl just didn’t have that “off” button. Something inside her did not make her stop and that leads me to believe that there is something mentally wrong which was maybe triggered by her social surroundings.
    Yes, there were signs…there had to be. But from personal experience, the signs were passed off as hormonal or she was just maybe looked at as a “problem child”, a “mis-fit”. Being a mis-fit is a very lonely, painful place for a 15 year old girl.

  14. Jackie says:

    This is tough….mental illness!!! Is beyond powerful if not noticed and treated properly asap, parents needed to be persistent, or whomever raised her. Its so obvious that this teenager had serious emotional/mental/spiritual issues, the damage is done.

    It takes a village…consisting of support/therapy/medicine…a life time of self-care for mental illness to be in a stable mode. Sometimes a person sadly is born without a concious, that is chilling.

    There is different levels…different degree’s of mental disorders. If parents notice something wrong in their childs emotional/mental daily life….parents need to take action. What is scary is when you are being raised by parents or whomever…that has no clue or are sick themselves, then society ends up locking them up…or putting them away.

    The solution can be, more programs for mental illness…more education, and the mental illness still sucks in the available help in our country.

  15. kelly says:

    I have three daughters and I thank God they are not like this. Why is it this happened? maybe it is the differnce in how we raise children from 20 years ago til now, so many dont have but one parent. So many things could be at fault but one thing for sure its sad nether the less

  16. Lezli says:

    I have been reading the 4th edition of psychology and the human mind. It tells how psychologist use data to find out why people think the way they do. It goes on to tell that people react differently in certain situations and certain areas. I have not read the complete book yet, but my questions would be – What things was this young lady subjected to? What kind of people was she around? Call me crazy, over protective, or just off the wall. However, this world has changed from bad to worse over the years. When I was fifteen (22 years ago) you worried about children skipping school and smoking cigarettes. I was never “sheltered” but my parents knew everything I did. It was a wonder how they would find me if I was skipping school. (mom would send dad right up to the railroad tracks as I hang out with my friends, marlboro in hand). Now, as a mother I know. I just wonder if this “baby” got the attention she needed at home. Did she have friends? Was she depressed? Did she live a normal childhood? Was she disciplined? All of these things go through my mind and just make me wonder. It makes me look at my young teenage daughters with more precaution.
    I pray for both of the families. I couldn’t imagine losing one of my babies to death or prison. May God have mercy on her soul~and comfort the parents that lost their nine year old angel.

  17. Joyce Long says:

    More and more young girls, not just teens but younger than that are getting violent. About a year and a half ago my daughter who was 11 at the time went skating with some of her friends. 4 other older girls (they were teens) ganged up on one of the girls and 3 older girls held this child down while another one stomped on her face with her skates. She had several cuts and bruises but luckily wasnt permantely damaged. I am amazed at the violence among young people these days. Some of my daughters friends are already sexually active (one just turned 12) one is pregnant at 14, and they seem so proud of it… Shawna actually asked me the other night, (mama why are all my friends having sex and I am not?), I told her because she was being smart, had goals and what would happen to those goals she has for herself if she did start having sex.
    And it amazes me that they think they are smart enough to have sex yet they dont realize when they are making a threat?? My 13 yr old told someone online (A girl at her school, they are friends but they were fighting about a boy) to “Watch her back”. The girl got scared and told her school counselor. Luckily Shawna is a straight A student and has never ever been in trouble at school (except for talking to much) and she was just given a warning. I told her that was a serious thing she did. She said she didnt realize that it was a threat. I said how can you say watch your back and not realize that it was threatening to the other girl??? I realize that sometimes kids just blurt out the first thing that comes to mind sometimes, but I told her she had to watch her mouth. So far she has never gotten into a fight herself but she does worry me, because I am scared for her. She is a popular girl, smart on The honor roll, in the National Jr Beta Club and she is always quick to jump in and break up a fight. I worry that someone is going to retaliate and do something to her. She has broken up a fight in the girls bathroom at school. Some other girls had jumped one of her friends and were cutting her with a razor blade and Shawna pulled her out of the bathroom and took her to the principals office. I do worry that she will be jumped by bullies and things like that, with so much violence among teens these days.
    Although I am not in any way implying she is a perfect child, sometimes I think she is a bully herself just in the way she acts and talks.
    I worry about her a lot, because I am not her real mother, I have had her since birth though. My sister is her mother and Shawna knows she didnt want her due to her mixed race and because she was doing drugs (and still is). Sometimes Shawna tries to come across as tougher than she really is. She hides a lot of pain. Now and then she will come crying to me and ask me why her mama doesnt want her.. (Her mama lives in the same trailor park as we do) because she will make all kinds of promises and things to her then break them.
    Enough I guess about that. It just amazes me how cruel kids are these days, and how most parents just dont care….. As long as they are not bothering them, they could care less what they are doing.

  18. Bridgette says:

    I am outraged at this. I do believe that there is an evil that does exist out there in this world. I also believe with everything that is going on in the world, and also what is available on television has helped desensitise out young youth. The sad part is when something like this happens we all look for someone or something to blame other than the person who did this. But, could there be something more going on inside this girl that has caused all of that evil hatred.

  19. Jana says:

    I believe this young women is a sociopath (like a female Ted Bundy) and as such cannot be “rehabilitated” & put back into society. Whether she ends up in jail or in a mental hospital (more likely) she should never be allowed to go free as there is no guarantee that she wouldn’t do this again. No different than a serial killer, a sexual predator or child molester. For that matter, she very well may have been a serial killer but for the fact she was caught with the first one. Thank God.

  20. Sondra says:

    I am a mother of two girls and this story truly scares me. That my girls may some day have to deal with this sort of horror. My seven year old has already delt with bullying in her last school. Boys relentlesly chasing her every recess. I can only hope that I have tought her the empathy and love it takes to stay sane in this some times horible world. I know when I was young I wanted to die becouse of the bullys. Its not that far of a leap to turn that into I want to live i’m going to kill the bully and survive myself. I think it’s more of a primal instinct gone too far…These kids are thinking it’s me or them. Then it warps and the kids don’t know who the bullys are any more. They are alone…every one is on the other side.
    This is just my take on it. My deepest sympathy to all the familys involved. May it never happen again. And may we all heal despite our deepest pain.
    Thank you Dr Phil

  21. Paradoxis says:

    I remember hearing once that anger turned inwards leads to depression, while anger turned outwards leads to violence. I myself have experienced such rage that I’d swing from suicidal depression to homicidal rage. The only way I didn’t hurt anyone is that I locked myself away in my flat because I didn’t trust myself.

    Apparently this 15 year old girl was suicidal at 13. NOT a good sign. If the above theory is true, and anger and fear are the basis of homicide and suicide, it’s not surprising that she actually killed someone. This shows that she’s more than capable of succeeding in killing herself, should the anger turn inwards once again.

    It’s interesting to me that the child she killed was only 9 years old. It makes me wonder what happened to HER at that age…

  22. Holli says:

    Why does there have to be something psychologically worng with her? There is such a thing as cold blooded killer. Perhaps she was just a cold hearted person.

  23. June says:

    Give them a open door, Have a way for them to have there voices heard, It can be as little as having a comment box. Atless help the victims.

  24. Sonja says:

    well, I am really scared. I live in germany and I haven´t known this story yet.
    in fact of I don´t know much about this teen, I can´t say too much but sometimes children or even teens are good roleplayers…
    Of course it seems like everyone ’slept’… But if this teen was a quiet person, how will you notice that she has such an agressive mind. I do not want to say sorry.
    I think that both parents are shocked. I can not emagine what both parents feel. Maybe a small part. I only can hope, that they all will be strong enough to find a way back into `normal´live somehow. Wish them all the best !!!! (Hope you understand what I mean)

  25. Marieke says:

    Is this what is happening nowadays? Do the children not get enough Love to build a base of love in themselves? Why do you do something like this? There must be hurt in her to hurt another one like this. I can only hope we solve this in the cause instead of solving the symptoms, and maybe this is an alarm to tell us that we need to give more Love to our children, so that they do not need love from others, subtitutes on chatprogrammes. I think, Love causes Love and hurt causes hurt. Let’s Love!

  26. Robin says:

    My opinion is is that she is acting out from something that she is not getting at home, the acting out. Wanting to be at least seen because she is not getting noticed, so she’s acting out.
    She talks about pain, she has some underlying pain about something that has devastated her or she has in her mind that pain that she feels should be put out there for others to feel.

  27. Robin Davis says:

    This teenager had issues & “NO ONE” caught it!! Whatever the issues were she needed help & “NO” adult saw this. That is a big thing that needs to change!!!! We as adults need to listen more!! I mean really listen & watch. Maybe things like this tragedy would atleast happen less.

  28. FosterBoys says:

    Perhaps this is an oversimplification, but…

    It’s NOT a small world after all. It’s a very, very big world in which the vast majority of us are of no consequence or importance in life’s big picture. The exception to this is the love and support we receive from family and friends who assure us that their lives would not be the same without us. And so, we live to love and be loved and have no grand disillusions about the meaning of our existence.

    NOW, take away that love, acceptance, understanding, and purpose and you have the millions of lost souls who wander among us, struggling to understand why they were even born. They’re angry, scared, and lonely and they WILL lash out.

  29. Scotty says:

    We have a society of broken people and we are expecting broken parents to raise functional, happy teens? Not going to happen. I think alot of posters have touched on good points and I’d like to offer one more, that many will roll their eyes at and think I’m a religious fanatic. But I truly believe in supernatural worlds at war in this war….good and evil. We have alot of avenues that open doors to allowing these influences into our lives. I truly believe evil is working from the inside of families to destroy us….and doing a pretty good job of it. What better or easier way of turning people away from a loving God than to inflict such heart-rendering pain than destroying our family members?

  30. Peggy says:

    I agree with Shelly 100%…..I live in the area and cannot imagine how this could happen. My heart goes out to both families and I hope that Bustamanti gets the help she needs and her friends that were close to her to help them cope with any feelings that they have about this. Makes you wonder what GODS plan is in all of this.

  31. vince says:

    i know we dont know what goes on in the minds of such young kids killing kids, could it be that maybe the parents just are not doing there part as a parent to raise there children to know this kind of behavior is not tollerated at any time for any reason! we have too damn many kids in gangs on the streets and nothing being done till they brek a law and useley the laws they break involve killing-shootings- breakins-shoplifting, i know im not the best parent in this country but i did mannange to teach my kid to be honest and to live with digitny and have a bit of honor in his actions, maybe if the cops would just start picking up these so called gang-bangers and harrase the living hell out of them every time there caught on the streets after dark and taken to jail and make the parents come pick up there little gang-banger and whiler there doing that the parents get a few charges on them as well maybe just maybe parents would keep up with there little darlings a bit better, maybe if parents would get there noses out of drugs and booze them selves there kids would not be able to slip by them for hours and hours with out the parent noticing that there little darlings are not at home. i lay all the blame for bad kids on there parents period. after all there SUPPOSE TO BE THE ADULT.

  32. Angela Bellinger says:

    I feel the tragedy here is that no one noticed the pain of the 15 yr old who committed this seemingly senseless act. (I use the word seemingly very carefully I assure you) Parents, teachers and other adults who came in contact with this young woman throughout her life; did no one see an issue?

    There are so many parents and caregivers who are not present in the lives of the children in their care. We get one shot guys. You don’t get a do-over. Being present may mean sacrificing a lot of “stuff” that people think they need to live. In the end it’s not the tangible “stuff”, that is most important in life, but the intangible things that are most beneficial. Things like showing love, doing loving things, knowing, spending time with, talking to, hugging, asking questions, sharing experiences; you know, relating.

    When you are present, you notice things; you can safely ask questions because you have invested in that relationship. Of course, you should know when you are in over your head, but love should compel you to get help-not cover up. If there is mental illness, then the loving thing is to get help for the individual. We should not ignore behaviors, or things said that are not consistent with soundness. I pray that we start paying more close attention to growing stable, loving, empathetic children who in turn will become adults who exhibit these qualities.

  33. Dr. Phil, I remembered seeing a special on Dateline of behavioral problems in children of parents with substance abuse problems, specifically alcoholism. I found the below which could explain what can’t be explained in this instance and why so off the wall… You will see below listed: “…extreme impulsiveness, no capacity for moral judgment or interpersonal empathy, sociopathic behaviour…” Fetal Alcohol Syndrome…

    It’d be interesting to know the research data of children and/or violent persons to know the incidence of alcoholic consumption of parent while pregnant.” Not to mention learned behavior from modeling after parent as I read that along with substance abuse problems the father was in prison for assault so lived with grandparents. Too, we are learning the health of the father at time of conception has bearing as well. Even if not the case in this case… love begins before conception… being healthy and creating a healthy environment for children.

    “FASD is not a threshold condition. It is a diverse continuum ranging from mild intellectual and behavioural issues to the extreme that often leads to profound disabilities or premature death.

    At the mild end, damage may be the loss of some intellectual functioning (IQ), visual problems and higher than normal pain tolerance. At the severe end, damage may be severe loss of intellectual potential, severe vision problems, dyslexia, serious maxilo-facial deformities, dental abnormalities, heart defects, immune system malfunctioning, behavioral problems, attention deficit disorders, hyper-activity, extreme impulsiveness, poor judgment, little or no retained memory, deafness, little or no capacity for moral judgment or interpersonal empathy, sociopathic behaviour, epilepsy, tremors, cerebral palsy, renal failure, heart failure, death.” END QUOTE

    I think 2010 should be the year that parents around the world ONLY get pregnant in a responsible manner… for their children(s) sakes so children don’t end up paying the price for parent(s) irresponsible behavior being deprived of a healthy environment from womb to childhood. The only way to stop cycles is to quit repeating them by learning self control and a better way. Life is mostly habit (practice) so it behooves us all to practice good habits to set examples to our children who are modeling after us. I agree with Dr. Travis of The Doctors that we have to make healthy, positive choices hip. Emotional and Life Skill Education K-12 and Jay’s Anti-Bully pledge since our EQ’s are as important as our IQ’s. http://www.drphil.com/shows/show/115

    Schools need to provide help numbers in a highly visible places such as inside of bathroom stalls so youth can privately jot down numbers and IN LARGE PRINT in a high traffic area(s) of school. Including phone number/email of school counselor (with anonymous option) because many don’t go see counselor cause word gets around if seen going to see.



    In memory of Elizabeth Olten if anyone has a friend talking about hurting self or others… immediately seek advice from school counselor or another expert even if you feel you need to do anonymously. Report drug rings because can alter state of mind and is destroying lives. Praying us all a healthy life one healthier choice at a time in memory of Elizabeth Olten. Sincere heartfelt condolences and prayers to all that this tragic event and loss has hurt. Sincerely, SEA

  34. melissa says:

    How can something like this happen? it makes me sick it makes you scared to go out your door

  35. Mini says:

    Like Dr. Phil I am appalled and angry that this type of behaviour from young girls -and this type of outcome is on the rise. Media reports state the accused was receiving treatment for depression and attempted suicide. – but you have to ask what type of care? – What type of therapy? What quality and frequency of care was this young woman receiving? There is a lot that has not been released or revealed in this case….. But dispite all teh unanswered questions – you have to ask again “WHY???”

  36. Mini says:

    Like Dr. Phil I am appalled and angry that this type of behaviour from young girls is on the rise -and this type of outcome is becoming weekly news. Media reports state the accused was receiving treatment for depression and attempted suicide. – but you have to ask what type of care was she receiving? – What type of therapy? What quality and frequency of care was this young woman receiving? There is a lot that has not been released or revealed in this case….. But dispite all the unanswered questions – you have to ask again “WHY???” Too sad for all involved….

  37. Glenda Doyle says:

    December 1, 2009

    Dr. Phil

    Just a comment regarding the violent teen story. How horrible, I am so sorry for both families and everyone concerned. It is obviously a problem that is growing in American society. Little girls getting their way unchallenged at home at school, everywhere. They want more more more more more, and they can’t figure out why they are so miserable. With boundaries comes healthy relationships and a good life, with all of its bumps and bruises and pitfalls. These kids think a free ride is their right and they will kill anything that gets in their way. Im sure she was a precious baby and things went downhill when someone thinks giving her her way will make her happy. NOT NOT NOT!!! What a tradgedy!

    If she ever gets out of prison, she might if she’s not tried as an adult. She frankly needs Dr. Lawless. Someone to take authority over her and give her boundaries and give her step by step way to have a healthy life. Again, sir, what a tradgedy.


    Glenda Doyle

  38. Courtney says:

    Psychological issues overlooked? I wouldn’t question that. Trauma or pain in her life that hasn’t been dealt with? You better damn well believe it. Trauma in one’s life really affects a person, whether he or she realizes it or not. I know it used to for me. And when you’ve been through difficult times (my assumption is that she was exposed to a violence or an attack on herself at some point in her young life), I find that you’re bitter, and therefore, more prone to doing something aggressive or bad because you’re not sure how to deal with the trauma you’ve been through. It’s kind of like . . . “I was attacked, I was hurt, I gotta protect myself and hurt the other people who I feel are threatening me.” Maybe she felt threatened by her next door neighbour for some strange reason that probably makes zero sense, but makes sense in poor Alyssa’s mind. Maybe she feels like there’s no hope for her, maybe she did something bad before she killed her innocent neighbour. Maybe her head and heart were at, “You know what, I already did this bad thing, I might as well just keep on doing bad things, I’m already so far gone.” My heart goes out to both families. What this young 15-year-old needs is a lot of prayer, a lot of hope, a lot of love, and a lot of help.

  39. Jana says:

    I wonder how many parents are watching their kids?

    Probably not many.

    It also says something if you get on Youtube and type “Girl fight” in the search box and ten videos pop up, and that’s just the first page!

  40. Linda Rose says:

    Who knows what went on in that girls mind for her to kill her little neighbor? But if we examine our culture in North America, mainly the US and Canada anyone can see it is becoming more morally degenerate with each generation. It just keeps getting worse and worse.

    I think TV shows that are violent and Internet and Videos are turning the consciousness of some people to stone. They feel nothing because they are numbed by violence. Have you noticed crime shows are getting more violent trying to see who can be the most violent and gory?

    Troubled homes with parents and kids stressed out, children having babies and unable to care for them adds more stress to families and society.Unemployment adds to the stress.Selfishness is a big problem and self interest at the expense of others. No wonder many children have hardened their hearts and have no conscience. Look at the examples around them!

    Keep teaching people how to solve their relationship problems, Dr.Phil. Many young people have no life skills because their parents and grandparents didn’t either. The only way to turn things around is to change the hearts of people. Education is the beginning but then I think only God can change this world as a whole.

  41. WOW how sad. So So So sad. How can a child be dealing with so much pain and parents not see the warning signs? I realize we are all busy, but come on.

  42. prefer anonymous says:

    I think this is the result of the relentless attacks on feminism by the mass media and by a large number of men ever since the feminist movement began in the late sixties. There are many women who have gotten ahead in the mass media by bashing feminism. For example, I remember that once the New York Times hired a cultural critic and in her first comment she bashed feminism. The fashion industry promotes clothing, such as revealing attire and uncomfortable shoes, that sets women against each other. Feminism isn’t about hating men. It’s about women supporting other women and having a sense of sisterhood. That seems to be completely absent among young women. I think we need the re-entry of the feminist movement. I would like to hear Gloria Steinem’s reaction to such bullying. I wish young women had women’s support groups the way we did when I was in my twenties.

  43. After spending the majority of my school years bullied by both students and teachers and becoming an outspoken advocate for peace in the schools, this doesn’t shock me (which in itself, is disgusting). The majority of bullying for me was between girls, rarely did boys get involved. Death threats were made and I ended my years in homeschooling. The term “Bullies”, in my mind, is a ridiculous understatement that conjures images of Nelson Muntz giving Bart Simpson a wedgie. Now we must learn to replace that image with a 15 year old slitting a 9 year old’s throat and burying her body in a pre-dug grave.
    But the bottom line becomes this: Adults (and I say adults because I am including parents, administrators, teachers etc) are missing what’s happening amongst our kids. After interviewing countless teachers and dealing with many parents, there is a deadly nightmare pill that’s going around adults that exists in two forms: 1. “This kind of thing never happened when I was in school…” or nothing is done purely out of complete ignorance/helplessness and 2. The headline-making capabilities of kids killing other kids (we hear about it, print it, publish it, and then forget about it). Both of these mentalities boil down to one mistake: They shut down any ability for adults to relate to kids. It becomes easier to turn the situation into a fault with the children rather than a faulty connection with them. It sounds extremely cliche, but sometimes listening and becoming silent is far more effective than running our mouths or the printers. We hear about it, blog about it, stand around in horror at the watercooler, but these girls will, with time, be forgotten by most and it will happen again. It’s probably happening right now to some young girl who has sat alone in bed praying, as I did, that the torture of no one believing in you would end. I was lucky: I had a role model who, although I have never met him, I hold dear to me until this day. But most have no one, including the aggressors.
    The other thing I ran into a lot was this strange sociopathic mentality of lack of empathy for others. This ran deep in the majority of my ‘bullies’ in school. Many felt that they were “putting me in my place” because I was not doing what they wanted. It was the trait that frightened my parents and I the most, which brings me back to the one common connection: parents and kids, and it starts YOUNG. Not age 14 or 15, but at the level when empathy is instilled and modelled.

  44. Amy O says:

    I think any act of violence no matter the severity comes from the lack of control over ones emotions. Particularly the anger emotion. We all have the emotion anger but some control it better than others. I think certain people have psychological problems that can effect their conscious and moral beliefs causing them to follow through with acts of violence. I say this because I myself have been so angry I’ve wanted to beat someone or in some cases probably kill someone but I know it is the wrong thing to do.

  45. Cathy says:

    I agree that bullying is totally out of control and can really affect and shape a persons life. Some kids are strong enough to stand up for themselves while others just take it and eventually become desperate….. Parents most definately play a huge roll! I was bullied at school and at one school event was carried over a field by the seniors and was then humiliated infront of hundreds of students. I was put in a wooden noose – had my feet duck taped together then at least 10 girls preceded to rub doe in my hair, break eggs in my face and then put feathers in my face – it was the ultimate humiliation…. Eventually 2 of their seniors (after standing by and watching) stepped up to my aid and helped remove the egg and feathers off my face – I couldn’t open my eyes… Once I could see I was so angry that I screamed at the girls to let me go and take the device etc off of me… they kinda stood back and obeyed… I was petrified to tell my mom. But I had to go home. WHen I did I had to tell my Mom and begged and pleaded her not to go to the school. She handeled it very well and ultimately they ‘main bullies’ were called in and made to wash my clothes and pay for my hair (it took 3 hours to get the doe out of my hair – but the garlic stench took days)
    After that – it gave me the strength to stand up to them and my days of being bullied were over.
    I must admit however – I became a bully – to those that bullied other kids! If there were bullies picking on other kids, especially my friends or family – I would round up my girls and we would take them on!!!! I became known as the girl that no-one messes with. Through my mother I was given the strength to stand up for myself and put an end to bullying. To this day I have no tolerance towards bullys and at my age (27) I will stand up to anyone of anyage who tries to bully me.
    So that’s my story.
    I do believe however, that this girl who committed this disgusting act was absolutely desperate and lost! I can garauntee that there were many signs indicating her desperation etc but that were ignored… it’s just sad that another child had to die for her to be heard :-(
    I think she is an exception and rather if one looks back at her history there will be many indicators that she was infact very volatile. i would even put money on it that she came from an unstable home and perhaps even had to put up with abuse in her life.

  46. LindaRH says:

    There’s nothing new under the sun, and I’m sure there have been equally horrendous acts by youngsters before, BUT it does seem that general girl violence is on the rise.
    I too have trouble wrapping my mind around this culture of brutality that is developing. I’m not going to blame Hollywood for all of it, but when will the industry get a clue? Everybody I know that has children uses TIVO in order to only let them see what the parents deem is OK, which is very little and that includes no commercials.
    How do you explain otherwise well adjusted girls participating in bullying except as a defensive reaction or possilby peer pressure? And what does it say about our society?
    And then there was the need for a university dean to pass a rule recently that students refrain from having sex in front of their roommates! I’m of the age that is totally mystified by ANYBODY needing to be told this is perverse and rude. The need to actually have a rule astounds me!
    At the point that we are the most technicnally advanced, some of us are culturally reverting to little better than animals.
    I don’t have an answer for this except that I’m grateful that there are still havens of security available to those that avail themselves of them, like church or synagogue, TIVO or NO TV, caring adults that provide themselves as resources for troubled youngsters, etc.

  47. Irene says:

    Completely disgusting, how a 15 year old child can completely give into her rage and ‘curiosity’ and kill a defenseless 9 year old child, who did absolutely nothing to deserve being killed. No amount of excuses is ever going to make what she did okay.

    I’ve also noticed though that girls are becoming more increasingly violent and catty [even more than what we had to deal with when we were teens; which for me was 10 years ago, not very long ago, but it might aswell have been a lifetime ago] In society girls are expected to be meek and docile, never show your anger…maybe if we actually taught girls to express their anger, or to confront the person they have a problem with [verbally and non violently] bullying, backstabbing and violence might decrease [after all when men have problems with each other they usually confront the person they have a problem with] This might be one solution that could help [just watch 'Mean girls', or even the movie based on Rachel Simmons book 'Odd girl out.'] Now if they had ‘expressed’ their feelings or confronted each other about the problems they had with each other things probably wouldn’t have gotten as bad as they did.

  48. Tayler Lynch says:

    Dear Dr.phil
    i feel like i can relate to this issue,because i was involved in a fight with my ex best freind Kayla. It was slapping pushing each other up the walls calling each other bitch and slut just horrible names. to your question
    “What in the world is going on with some of our young people that they feel the urge to take their anger out by harming or killing others?”

    girls are evil !!! thats the easiest way to put it. We are Mean gossip machines. WE start rumors,make up mean stuff for no reason. Most of the time end up in fights. Its brutal being a girl at times. all the stuff/DRAMA you got to deal with. Drama is the WORST thing! its just over rated! high school is where it really starts.

    please i think you should have a show about “girls bulling fighting” its just mean out in the real world.

    Thank you!
    Tayler Lynch

  49. Wolfie says:

    I am a 40-something white female who was routinely bullied, beat up and threatened with death or worse by violent black female hood rats from kindergarten through high school. Child on child violence is nothing new. It’s only that it’s getting more coverage as a hot topic by the same media currently obsessed with Tiger’s wood.

    Bummer yet another life has been senselessly lost, but when there are “too many rats in the cage”, violence, aggression and/or depression are inevitable. Especially in children.

    Speaking of “too many rats”, I predict it’s only a matter of time until one of Octomom’s brood takes out a helpless sibling in a similar manner. When (not if) it happens, there will be a burst of boo hoo hoo blogs and talk show whine-with-cheese-fests bemoaning the poor victim’s sorry fate while those of us who saw it coming like a Mac truck remain unsurprised— and Octomom goes shopping for a new pair of $300 shoes to ease the pain.

  50. Carol says:

    This child never had structure she is one of throw away children and feels she has nothing to live for so she will destroy anybody that even shows her any kind of attention she doesn’t understand that people just want to befriend her and get something out of her.

    The only thing she knows is pain because that is all she had all of her life she has no connection to anyone because she is like a lost puppy and when these puppies grow up and never had a real mother and real father there is no way she can connect to humans so she more or less turned into a wild animal and kills anyone who comes to close to her. Like a rabbit dog or cat they will kill to stay alive because they have no connection to their own.

    This is such a sad story I just don’t have the words.


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